Focus Fives: Favourite Home Games vs Man City

Manchester City’s long run of successive victories was torpedoed by their neighbours last Sunday but they do have a winning streak to protect against us this weekend…

They have won the last 10 matches between the clubs and you have to go back to 2011 to find the last time we picked up even a point. In fact, that draw is one of the five games featured below – none of which involve a City victory. After all who would want to read anything like that?


DIVISION TWO (17/03/84)

The 1983/84 season was a real anti-climax as the hangover from missing out on promotion the previous campaign had us lurking around the relegation area until around Christmas. We recovered our form after that, but it was too late to fashion any sort of promotion push. It was still clear that on our day we could be as good as any in the Division and so it proved on this spring afternoon as City arrived desperate for a result as they were level on points with Newcastle for the last promotion spot. They were to be disappointed though as by half time they were 4-0 down and when we added a 5th right at the start of the second half any score looked possible. City did recover to limit the damage, but it was too late for the electronic scoreboard at the Putney End which blew a fuse after being overworked that day and was never to be seen in action again. Our mercurial Welsh Wizard Gordon Davies helped himself to a hat trick that day or possibly four as one deflected effort was credited as an own goal in some quarters. Leroy Rosenior scored the other on a catastrophic day for the visitors from which they didn’t recover. They finished 4th 10 points adrift of the Magpies while we ended the season slap bang in the middle in 11th spot.


DIVISION TWO (22/12/84)

It’s hard to believe this game took place nearly forty years ago as the stunning conclusion to the game is still fresh in my memory. We’d made a steady start to the campaign but were some way adrift of City who were amongst the pacesetters for promotion. We had already won at Maine Road early in the season though, so the visitors knew they’d be in for a tough encounter and there was a palpable edge to proceedings in what became a feisty and at times testy affair. Ray Lewington’s first half goal had been answered by two City responses and as the game approached the end we still trailed. Robert Wilson looked to have rescued a point in the last minute but even better was to follow. Deep into stoppage time that gem of a midfielder Ray Houghton smashed one into the roof of the Hammersmith End net from 25 yards out to send the Fulham masses (me included) into ecstasy. If you were one of the strangers I hugged that day I can only apologise. Unfortunately, our fabled inconsistency prevented us from making a concerted push for promotion while City recovered to eventually finish 3rd and clinch their return to the top flight.


Image: Stephen Munday/Allsport


Manchester City had just suffered two relegations in three seasons and were undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs to have fallen into the third tier of English football. On the other hand, we were considered something of a coming force with Mohamed Al Fayed’s backing and Kevin Keegan now in sole charge of the team. It was a mouth-watering prospect of an early season encounter and the Sky cameras were there on a Friday night under the Cottage lights. After a cagey opening it was Peter Beardsley that nosed us in front on 19 minutes and by half-time we had put the game to bed. The unlikely hero was Dirk Lehmann, a German forward we had signed on a free transfer from Energie Cottbus. He not only had a porn star’s name but had the bleached hair and moustache to go with it, and his two goals that night afforded him instant cult status with the Fulham faithful. We saw the second half out comfortably to put down an early marker in a season in which we went on to romp the title with a massive 101 points. By contrast City took a much harder route to promotion before clinching a penalty shoot-out victory in a remarkable Play Off final victory over Gillingham in a game they trailed 2-0 in the 89th minute. They’ve since gone from strength to strength while in contrast Herr Lehmann disappeared back into obscurity almost as quickly as he’d arrived.


Image: SHAUN CURRY/AFP via Getty Images


This match was at a similar juncture of the season some four years before and again we were struggling under new management. Lawrie Sanchez didn’t get long in our hot seat and although his style of football wasn’t popular, we did experience a lot of misfortune during his tenure. This was probably one of the more entertaining games under him in a game of ebb and flow with Sven Goran Eriksson’s City. Simon Davies had his header cancelled out by Martin Petrov before Hameur Bouazza’s thunderbolt free kick restored our lead. Things looked less rosy when Emile Mpenza and Petrov, with his second gave City the lead. However, Danny Murphy emerged from the bench for his home Fulham debut and rescued a draw with a calm and classy finish. The point was to prove crucial as we ended our dire season with a flourish. The return fixture with City saw a remarkable comeback from two goals down to give us hope and a fortnight later it was Murphy again scoring the vital goal on the last day of the season at Portsmouth to save us on goal difference. The Great Escape is probably the highlight of our Premier League era – wouldn’t it be nice it if were overshadowed by another this term?


Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images


Roberto Mancini’s All Stars looked in a different class to us in the first half and when Sergio Aguero added to his first half goal just after the break the game looked up. We had yet to win in the League that season under new boss Martin Jol so it would have surprised nobody if we had thrown in the towel. However, on 55 minutes Bobby Zamora dragged us back into the game out of nowhere and from then on it was a proper contest. Dembele and Dempsey both went close before Danny Murphy struck with 15 minutes left to earn us a richly deserved point. The draw ultimately did City no damage as they clinched the title on goal difference with that memorable late winning goal against QPR on the last day of the season, courtesy of the aforementioned Argentinian. The point did us no harm either. Our first League victory arrived in the next home game with a 6-0 annihilation of QPR and form continued to improve over the rest of a season we finished in a creditable 9th place.